The leader of the opposition had had a week to go through the recommendations of a parliamentary panel regarding foreign policy.
When he rose from his seat during the joint session of Parliament on Monday, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was typically critical of the government – except his criticism had little to do with the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) or, for that matter with foreign policy in general.
Instead, Nisar straight away drew attention of the house to the power outages.
It was later reported that the opposition and the government were actually locked in backroom negotiations on the debate on reviewing ties with the US.
The opposition on Monday urged the government to seek firm guarantees from the US that it would honour an eventual resolution demanding a halt to drone attacks inside tribal areas and apologise over last year’s airstrikes on Pakistani border posts.
“We have made it clear that the government should first ensure that the resolution will be respected (by Washington). Only then we can think of supporting it,” a top Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader told The Express Tribune.
The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) sent PCNS Chairman Senator Raba Rabbani and Religious Affairs Minister Syed Khursheed Shah, to the opposition parties to convince them to support the recommendations.
Chaudhry Nisar, Ishaq Dar, Mushahidullah Khan and Zahid Hamid represented the opposition during the talks. JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman also joined negotiations and supported the stance taken by the PML-N.
During Monday evening’s meeting in the chambers of Chaudhry Nisar, both the government and opposition decided that Parliament would open the debate from Tuesday (today) and negotiations would also continue at the same time.
The PML-N leader said the government negotiators did not commit to seeking guarantees from Washington. “They promised to get back to us tomorrow (Tuesday) after consulting with concerned quarters.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2012.
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